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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Evidence and Experience

Evidentiary Practices: Rest, Voice and Breath

Workshop: The Hub at Wellcome Collection, London, 22 September 2015, 9.30-5.00pm

The workshop will focus on how three major Durham University projects – ‘Hubbub’, ‘Hearing the Voice’ and ‘Life of Breath’ – navigate and explore the challenge of ‘evidence’ in interdisciplinary projects. The workshop will be held at The Hub at Wellcome Collection (where ‘Hubbub’ is currently in residence). One of the central aims of this workshop is to disseminate to academic and other audiences the cutting-edge interdisciplinary methods and practices that Durham’s Centre for Medical Humanities (which is central to all three of the above projects) has developed over recent years.

The workshop will feature team members and collaborators (within and beyond Durham University) from the three projects who occupy various ‘roles’ and bring certain kinds of expertise (whether as scientists, clinician, social scientists, artists, patients, and/or activists).

Some of the themes that the workshop will address challenges faced by all three of these interdisciplinary projects:

  • how to move between so-called ‘subjective’ and so-called ‘objective’ data regarding the phenomenon under study (rest and its opposites; voices/auditory hallucinations; breath and breathlessness) – which necessitates the challenge of relating physiological and neural data, say, to ‘subjective’ self-reports
  • how to negotiate which kinds of evidence under which kinds of conditions gain, maintain or lose authority in relation to that phenomenon. For example, the ‘lived experience’ of patients and/or ‘lay’ individuals vis-à-vis their own experiences of rest, voice-hearing and/or breathlessness can carry testimonial and evidentiary weight in certain contexts but lose authority (or be rendered invisible) in other contexts
  • how to hold together a team that comprises people with very different sets of disciplinary expertise and epistemological convictions regarding the nature of ‘evidence’. What effects do epistemological conflicts over the status and uses of different kinds of evidence have on practices of interdisciplinarity?

The workshop will both perform and work through some of these challenges. The aim is to clarify the challenges, and to adjudicate how interdisciplinary medical humanities research can best mobilize different kinds of evidence to produce new insights regarding the phenomenon under investigation (rest, voice hearing, breath).

The workshop at The Hub at Wellcome Collection, London on 22 September 2015, 9.30-5 pm is by invitation only. For further information contact Felicity Callard